Posts Tagged With: 18 Years Old

Triple Tipple: Tullamore DEW

Sound the alliteration alarm on this article as we explore a tweet tasting triple tipple of Tully treats.

 

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Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey Tweet Tasting

 

 

The tasting notes for each whiskey in the tweet tasting have been published separately as follows:

Tullamore DEW XO Rum Cask Finish

Tullamore DEW 14 Years Old

Tullamore DEW 18 Years Old

The tweet tasting did also feature the classic Tullamore DEW Original (tasting notes also available here), but the drams listed above were the real stars of the show as they are a little more difficult to come by and made for an interesting compare and contrast against one another.

 

Nose

One common theme throughout these whiskies were the distinctive fruity flavours. Within the XO Rum Cask Finish, there was a clear tropical influence with pineapples and lemons being an usual whiskey element, but these were lighter and more delicate in comparison to the 14yo, which had a much more rounded fruity flavour profile (think oranges, clementines) whilst still seeming light and fresh. The 18yo on the other hand was all about the dark fruits, and had a stronger, richer, fruitcake profile of flavours rather than smelling of the fruits themselves. The 18yo had the strongest nose by far and certainly had the oak profile to recognise its length of time in a barrel, which strangely, the 14yo had little to imitate.

 

Taste

As with any whisk(e)y tasting flight, the age is usually the defining characteristic that sets the flavour profiles apart, and that was certainly the case here, with neither the XO Rum Cask Finish nor the 14yo displaying much of a woody feature in the nose nor in the taste but those additional 4 years of maturation (and presumably distillers’ choosing) really made a difference, with the 18 yo having a really strong, if not overpowering oak spice. The XO Rum Cask did have its own spice element, but that was gentle and worked with the tropical fruity flavours, but it seems crazy that 14 years in a barrel for the 14yo imparted no trace of oak spice whatsoever, yet the 18yo had that spice in abundance. What the 14yo did have though was a fully rounded-out flavour profile with fruit and malt-meets-grain-meets-cereal underpinning it all.

 

Finish

Whilst each whiskey held their own individually, when going back and to forth between the whiskies, it was clear that age also seemed to affect the finish and body of the whiskies too, with the XO Rum Cask Finish having quite a thin, watery body by comparison.  On the other end of the spectrum, what the 18yo lacked in softness, it made up for in flavours and body with a much thicker, oily, woody, pungent and powerful delivery (particularly when considering it has the alcohol percentage as the 14yo). Sat in the middle on the body and finish was therefore the 14yo, but actually, what this whiskey did display, which the others didn’t is that classic triple-distilled Irish whiskey creaminess and rounded, softness to the finish.

 

Verdict

Overall, there wasn’t a bad dram amongst the three, but I did think that the XO Rum Cask Finish and 14yo were immediately more enjoyable overall that then 18yo, and of those two the 14yo featured more of the characteristics that I would associated with Irish whiskey, but with the longer maturation and combination of cask finishes bringing out a juicier orange fruit element that complemented the creamy body and malt-and-grain backbone really well. To pick a champion of the three, I would have to go with the 14yo. Whilst this might just appear that I too easily sit in the middle of the road, I thought they were all good whiskies with their own characters and flavours to offer in their own right, but this whiskey particularly had the most to offer without extremes of flavours and without compromise.

 

Thanks to Steve Rush @TheWhiskyWire and his @TweetTastings for the samples and of course to all at Tullamore DEW for the opportunity to enjoy and review.

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Tasting Notes: Tullamore DEW – 18 Years Old

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Tullamore Tweet Tasting

Traditionally known for their blend of triple distilled pot still, malt and grain whiskies, Tullamore D.E.W. have developed a core range of whiskies that showcase their blends and barrel influences. There are however, exceptions to this key formula, and the Tullamore D.E.W. 18 years old release is a single malt offering, i.e. comprised of solely (triple) distilled malted barley whiskies only. Limited to fewer than 2,500 bottles, this 18 year old has been finished in a combination of Bourbon, Port, Madeira and Oloroso Sherry casks. That’s only 20 barrels’ worth produced annually. Released as a special edition in 2016, this whisky is bottled at the very specific 41.3% ABV.

 

 

Nose 

Now there’s a good whack of oak to begin with. Give it a minute and the dark wine influences make for a strong dark/demerara sugar smell. In fact it reminds me of cakes being baked. Someone’s put a lot icing on this fruit cake too.  After a little while that thick fruit and sugary nose merges to the scent of cola cubes! Really, it does.

 

Taste

That cola style of dense sugary sweetness is now countered by quite a lot of spice. There’s some good, toasty oak in there behind it too. The fruitiness remains though. Think wintry desserts – like apple and raisin puddings. Makes for bit of sherry meets cherry and berry cake.

 

Finish

Ah, There’s something amiss here. The flavour profiles are swiftly burned off with a strong, pine-y finish. It has a kind of table polish meets cleaning chemicals aftertaste. Once the alcohol has worn off though, there seems to be a bit of a shortcake biscuit final profile of flavours – sweet, malty and cereal-like.

 

Verdict

Maybe its just the fact that this is a single malt from Tullamore D.E.W. rather than the pot still blend, but this has quite a bit of bite. Its age and multiple maturations means that the strong port, madeira and oloroso barrel influences really make themselves known, particularly the wood itself from those barrels, as opposed to the previous contents, bringing some spice to the fruity flavours. I may have just been on an off night, or it could have been a funny bottling (maybe something got in there) but the alcoholic burn itself and chemically taste made for an unpleasant interruption in an otherwise pleasant experience. The lasting memory for me however will be that lingering shortcake biscuit flavour – you know the ones: the star-shaped biscuits with raisins in and covered in lots of sugar. The flavours did linger and develop and overall it had lots of interesting elements, but there was nothing collectively outstanding about it.

 

Sample disclosure: This sample was provided as part of a tweet tasting, courtesy of Mr Steve Rush at @TheWhiskyWire and @TweetTastings – I’m sure he has some sort of minimum criteria, but if we can make it, then so can you! If you want to find some of those tweets from the night, then just go onto Twitter and look through the #TullamoreDEW and give him a follow and/or go over to http://www.thewhiskywire.com for more details.

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Tasting Notes: Glengoyne – 18 Years Old

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Glengoyne – 18 Years Old

Glengoyne whiskies pride themselves on their unique whisky making process, boasting to be the slowest distillation process in Scotland. It seems fitting then that my first dalliance with a Glengoyne whisky is with something that has also been maturing and milling around for a long time too: at least 18 years anyway. The distillery markets this whisky as offering a “perfect balance” and noting that it contains a “generous proportion of first-fill sherry casks”, the remainder presumably being aged in American standard ex-bourbon barrels. The distillation, maturation and bottling is all performed on-site within the distillery grounds in Dumgoyne, making this a Highland single malt scotch whisky, and one that is presented at 43% ABV.

 

Nose

Woah. There are a lot of flavours fighting for attention here. There’s a marzipan type tang and sweetness up front with an apple and raisin fruitiness and an almond-like nuttiness. With a little bit of time there’s a thicker molasses-type sweetness underneath too with a nutmeg spice amongst that icing sugar-style sugary-ness on top. Is this a whisky tasting note or a cake recipe?

 

Taste

All those initial flavours on the nose just seem to intensify when this finally gets into your mouth and do their metaphorical dance on the tongue. The traditional wedding cake ingredients listed above are all supported by a strong sherry influence which soon dominates over the previous sensations and lingers for a while before actually leaving a strong orange marmalade flavour behind.

 

Finish

Well, the cake references have now all gone when it comes to the finish, but that sweet and fruity marmalade flavour lasts and even has a buttery finish to it (presumably having been spread on some toast in this food-heavy review). In fact, long after the whisky and alcohol vapours have gone, the lasting note and aftertaste is that of oranges. That’s some fine sherry work throughout, and I’m not sure how we got there, but it works.

 

Verdict

For a single malt scotch whisky, this whisky review sure reads like a list of cake ingredients! But, I can confirm, that it is still very much a malt whisky at the heart of this endeavour, and one with a great sherry influence. That said, the whisky still remains a light and enjoyable dram, despite all these strong, darker, richer flavours being listed. I tasted this whisky via the Dram Team subscription, and these troops do source a great range of drams, and I think that I’m syncing up with their taste buds as I continue with the subscription, because only after enjoying and writing about the whisky have I since read their notes and they are virtually the same (even on the marmalade note). I’m always put on edge and sceptical about when a distillery describes their whiskies as the perfect anything, but Glengoyne are not wrong when they say that this whisky has a great balance to it.  On that basis, this dram has left me keen to explore what else Glengoyne have to offer, and I would heartily recommend this 18yo as a great choice for anyone to enjoy whether as a newcomer or connoisseur – and one that tends to stay at the less expensive end of the price spectrum for 18 year old scotch whiskies available (though expensive nonetheless).

M

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